A few months ago, a friend, Tim, approached me, wanting to know if I could give him a tip or two on how to succeed. Lately, he felt intimidated by life, and it was getting him down.
I told him that succeeding is all about failing. He gasped, “I’m not agreeing with you this time. I’ve experienced a lot of failure over the past couple of years. I’ve had two jobs, I’m not sleeping well, and even my bowling score has gotten worse. I am living testimony to the fact that failing is not the way to succeeding.”
Certainly Tim was experiencing a lot of failures, but what he wasn’t doing was looking deeply into the mistakes he was making. Perhaps you’re thinking, Why look at your mistakes when you are looking to win? Look at your mistakes, study them, because the answers that you are seeking are in the mistakes.
I call mistakes – miss-takes. You aim for an outcome, take a shot and miss. Now hear the good news. That’s how life works. The lessons you need to effectively achieve are available when you study your miss-takes. When you make failure a problem, it is one. When you consider it a blessing, it becomes one.
Whenever I look at the miss-take that had me fail with an eye for extracting a lesson, inevitably it aids me in finding a solution. Now I get to re-take that miss-take, refining what I did, and cheerfully exclaim, “That’s a take!” like Hollywood directors say when a scene is completed successfully.
I explained this to Tim, and then I added, “What do you do when your car won’t start? Do you look at what works to fix what isn’t working work? Do you kick the tires to see if they are full of air? No, you look at what isn’t working so you can fix it. You look at what’s wrong to make it right.
It’s actually intuitive to look at your failures with a success-conscious mind. Did you learn to walk on the first try? Certainly not! You failed many times, but because you were looking at the failures with an eagerness to learn, you failed forward, and soon you were walking. It’s the same with learning to read, write and ride a bike. We fail, fail, and fail ourselves to success.
Perhaps it’s a hard lesson to swallow, but if you are going to be a successful achiever, you have got to put first things first, and the first thing is to look at your miss-takes for correction, not at your ego for protection.
There is plenty of pain in failure without adding to it. You add to the pain when you try to cover up your failures by casting blame out there. You take a good deal of the pain out of failure when you extract the lesson it offers and apply it to your life.
The only person who can really understand success is the person who really understands failure. I’ve found the secret to ongoing success is this: Value learning lessons from your failures – first, last and always.
Please share where you have failed your way to success.
Thank you and blessings.
Tune into WROAR every Thursday for a unique blend of personal success stories & practical “WOE to WOW” tips & techniques.
Now Available: You And A Flea